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Archive | April, 2011

Productivity Tip | Work Smarter or Take a Nap? Hmmm ….

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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Good Question – How DO you get more done?

By now, some of you have seen the latest Harvard Business Review with this cover.

I don’t think a day goes by when we’re not pondering how to get more done.

The Being More Productive article is an interview with David Allen of GTD fame and Tony Schwartz at The Energy Project, who leads a growing movement concentrating on optimizing and renewing our energy to become more productive.

In fact, the first thing you see when you visit the home page of The Energy Project is a statistic that we all know: 72% of people have trouble focusing on one thing at a time, something we covered in Are Distractions Destroying Your Brain?

I doubt that it’s really that low.

There are several articles in this guide, as you can see from the quick snapshot.

Take a look at some of these articles and let me know what you think? Any tips there that are  working for you … or is it all just old news?

I’d answer that question myself … but I think I’m a little overdue for my nap.

 

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Business Finance | What’s the value of my company?

A Weekly Business Finance series for Non-Finance Executives!

“Financial Adrenaline” is a term we love around here because it reflects our commitment to help you turbocharge your business with practical tips and techniques to improve free cash flow, the lifeblood of business. As a further extension of our Financial Adrenaline program, we’re going to share a new Business Finance Tidbit every Wednesday specifically for those business executives who don’t have a finance background. Our current Big River series started with We’re Making Money. Why are we broke? … then No Cash? Can we borrow what we need? and What if our loan collateral doesn’t cut it? Last week, we talked about the need for outside investors.

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“All intelligent investing is value investing — acquiring more than you are paying for. You must value the business in order to value the stock.”

~ Charlie Munger

How important is valuation?

John Wilson, CEO of Ace Business Stuff, spent the last few weeks preparing for his meeting with Lary Blogger. He called a few days ago to follow up on his recent conversation with his attorney, Frank Lee Documents, when they spoke about investors, DilutionA reduction in earning per share of common stock that occurs through the issuance of additional shares or the conversion of convertible securities and ValuationThe process of determining the current worth of a company. An analyst valuing a company may look at the company's management, the composition of its capital structure, prospect of future earnings, and market value of assets. Judging the contributions of a company's management would be more subjective, while calculating intrinsic value based on future earnings would be an objective technique..

Valuation is the bedrock for investors

“Hi, Lary. I appreciate your coming by to meet in person to talk further about some of the issues we discussed a few weeks ago. Can we talk about valuation first, since that seems to be the foundation for conversations with prospective investors? (more…)

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Leadership Lessons | Do you have the magic elixir of True Grit?

What Does It Take to be a Great Leader?

Nothing in life travels in a neat formation accompanied by bugles and cavalry. A lot of it shows up filthy and unkempt, prominent in the mess we’ve made around our foxhole. These lessons are typically the offspring of hubris, naivete and ignorance … or from overlooking the land mines hidden beneath our feet.

Every Tuesday, we’ll share valuable and practical leadership tips and tools to help you BE a better leader so you can BECOME a better leader. Remember … you won’t BECOME a better leader until you start BEING a better leader  … implementing NOW the changes necessary to adopt the proven strategies of successful leaders. You might start by building on the communication matrix and making sure you’re defending the castle to get done what only you can do. Make some time so you’re thinking past today.

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Being in the lead and winning is not the same thing.” —Rory McIlroy

What a dramatic Masters finish tells us about succeeding

No, really, I had no intention of writing about the Masters golf tournament — again. You might want to start by looking at Madness or a Masters in Business … but, this 75th anniversary “tune-a-mint” that ended a few weeks ago offered more lessons than a kindergarten classroom.

What is True Grit? Do you think you have it?

Most of us think of Rooster Cogburn, either in the persona of John Wayne or Jeff Bridges, when True Grit is mentioned.

But, what is true grit? Never say die? It’s never too late? All those, and more, applied to the crushing legion wrangling for the green jacket on that fateful Sunday. Eight players shared the lead over a few hours on Sunday. As in life, the contrasts were remarkable.

Rory McIlroy, who held the lead over 63 holes of the tournament, entered Sunday with a four stroke lead and watched it quickly evaporate as his game imploded — he shot 80 on the final day — as contenders climbed over him from every side. Eight players as far behind as seven strokes down tied for the lead at some point on that bucolic Sunday afternoon.

Life is perplexing blend of success and failure (more…)

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Personal Productivity | Don’t overlook the “Elapsed Time Effect”

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff;  the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization.

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Which stuff are you working on first?

Don’t we all know there are many tasks or projects that require us to wait for something else to get done first … or for someone else to get something done before we can continue?

We know that “waiting for” stuff is a critical piece of our personal productivity program because it’s the linchpin of the critical “follow up” that we must always be doing.

So, that part is pretty obvious.

But, have you ever prioritized your tasks to make sure that you’re taking account of the “elapsed time” that something requires?

Here’s the simple hierarchy I try to use. See if it makes sense to you.

1. The 2 Minute Rule

If you can get it done in 2 minutes, do it, get it over with, move on. I think we all know this one.

2. The “Elapsed Time” Effect

Here’s a simple example of how this works. (more…)

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Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 4 – What happens if we need an outside investor?

The Big River series

The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

John Wilson, CEO of Ace Business Stuff, was thinking about several of the issues that he discussed earlier that day with his controller, Tom Sampson, and what Tom told him:

“Giving our customers an additional 30 days to pay, relaxing collections and neglecting the sale of inventory already on hand, isn’t a very sound strategy.”

Instinctively, he knew that Tom was right and that whatever bank loan they could obtain, it wouldn’t be enough.

What if bank financing isn’t enough?

Ted Deepockets, his long-time friend, had periodically needled John about the pros and cons of outside investors. He always seemed like he’d be interested in investing if the opportunity was presented. (more…)

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Leadership Lessons | Are Incentives the Cornerstone of Life?

Does your incentive program REALLY drive performance?

You probably know someone, don’t you, who is a star performer who believes that her achievements go unrewarded?

If so, you probably also know an underachiever who gets more than he deserves.I

s there any greater disincentive to the high performer than knowing that under-performance seems to be equally rewarded?

Should there be a moratorium on bonuses?

I’ve talked about the value of incentives before, but it keeps coming to mind as I talk to senior executives who don’t seem to have spent any time at all considering whether their incentive plans are working as intended … or whether they need to be revised.

In some ways, it reminds me of the comment that Bloomberg attributed to Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, during the $20 billion bonus scandals during the 2008-2009 financial meltdown.

According to Bloomberg, this was his comment … (more…)

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Social Media | LinkedIn’s 100 Million Members ARE a big deal

Leverage the Business Power of LinkedIn

It happened again the other day. I was chatting with a client and in the course of our conversation about someone they said: “I checked him out on LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn has become the de facto “go to” resource for researching companies and most especially people to learn more about them. And, if you’re very interested, you can usually find someone in your LinkedIn network to chat with and “get the scoop.”

LinkedIn now has 100 million members

LinkedIn doesn’t get covered as much in the media as its more glamorous cousins, Facebook and Twitter, but it has grown steadily as a powerhouse in the business environment and now stands at 100M+ members, adding 1 new member a second!

Unlike Facebook, people don’t hang out on LinkedIn for hours, they get in and get out – usually with a specific business purpose in mind. The information you get isn’t about a new restaurant or cute kid stories; people actually share information that’s useful to other business professionals on LinkedIn and use it as a research and networking tool.

LinkedIn is a powerful business marketing channel

Since LinkedIn members are there for business reasons, it’s become a highly receptive marketing channel for you to leverage for a variety of business purposes, including Business Development and Brand Management.

Business Development gets a boost when you leverage the capabilities of LinkedIn. (more…)

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Productivity Tip | Who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal?

A Weekly Personal Productivity series to help you get more done!

Every Thursday, I’m sharing a new Personal Productivity Tip to help you get more done. Each Productivity Tip is a remarkably simple tool or concept that can be quickly implemented to make a real difference in your personal productivity. When you apply many of them together, they’ll make a big difference in improving productivity, achieving accountability and staying focused on the things that matter the most in your life.

You may want to check out some of the posts in this Productivity series, including the the value of checklists; the importance of getting rid of the crappy stuff; the nightmare of the cluttered mind; and that feeling of being buried all the time. You can also leverage your resources and apply the lessons of the ARCI chart and the S.M.A.R.T. goals to boost the accountability of your entire organization. One more thing. When in doubt, write it down.

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It’s hard to beat a home-cooked meal!

Is there something more delectable than sitting down to a home-cooked meal … fresh, hot with flavors wafting through the air?

Some of you may be chefs who prefer to cook it yourself, but I suspect that the vast majority of us savor a meal where our only job is to sit down to enjoy it.

Maybe we’ve exerted a little energy to open the Cabernet to go with it, but not much more.

That’s the same feeling we need to create when we sit down to contemplate our Action Dashboard to begin the day.

Ready to Savor (it’s all actionable). Fresh (it’s all up-to-date). Hot (it’s ready to eat as soon as you sit down).

The Weekly Review is where all chopping, cutting, food prep gets done

Even if you don’t love to cook, you’ll still need to help with the food prep that takes place in the Weekly Review. That’s where all the chopping, cutting, shaving … preparation gets done so the meal can be enjoyed. To create a powerful personal productivity system, (more…)

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Business Finance | The Big River | Chapter 3 – What if our loan collateral doesn’t cut it?

The Big River series

The Big River series is a 12 part installment about a company desperately seeking cash to fuel their growth and the struggles they face trying to find it.

Tom Sampson, the controller for Ace Business Stuff, was in his office considering how to explain to John Wilson, the Company’s CEO, the issues related to the Company’s borrowing capacity and the weaknesses in the Company’s Balance Sheet.

Tom pulled together several schedules for his meeting with his CEO that afternoon, but was still struggling with how to get across some of the subtleties that he knew John would want to understand.

Tom knew that his CEO was absolutely committed to the Company’s success, although he became very frustrated when his convictions about future performance collided with the bank’s concerns about current performance.

What factors will the bank consider?

Tom knew that the bank considered many factors when judging an asset-based loan.

Having enough collateral to support the Company’s borrowing request was only part of it.

How do they measure the strength of the collateral?

One key ingredient is the quality of the collateral. (more…)

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Leadership Lessons: Madness or a Masters in Business?

What Does It Take to be a Great Leader?

Nothing in life travels in a neat formation accompanied by bugles and cavalry. A lot of it shows up filthy and unkempt, prominent in the mess we’ve made around our foxhole. These lessons are typically the offspring of hubris, naivete and ignorance … or from overlooking the land mines hidden beneath our feet.

Every Tuesday, we’ll share valuable and practical leadership tips and tools to help you BE a better leader so you can BECOME a better leader. Remember … you won’t BECOME a better leader until you start BEING a better leader  … implementing NOW the changes necessary to adopt the proven strategies of successful leaders. You might start by building on the communication matrix and making sure you’re defending the castle to get done what only you can do. Make some time so you’re thinking past today.

___________________

I always turn to the sports section first. The sports page records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.” — Justice Earl Warren

Get in the game. Enjoy the Ride.

The week just ended is my favorite sports week of the year. Some of you will say, “Nah, you got your calendar mixed up. Baseball season opened the previous week.” Of course, I could say, “but the home opener for the Giants was that week” and then you’d say, “OK, so you’re a big Giants fan. I get it.”

A few of you may suspect that’s not the reason. Not that I don’t love the World Champion San Francisco Giants and all … but honestly? That didn’t even occur to me as I braced for the greatest sports week of the year.

What’s not to like?

There are a lot of reasons why I love this past week. (more…)

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